Changes do happen, right?
I sat in the pew by my dad, and my heartbeat scampered ahead three paces. The first few notes of the piano played, and my stomach fluttered as Aunt Betty raised us to our feet with the lifting of her hand. That Sunday was the day. I knew it. The second verse was ending. It was nearly time to skip the third verse of the invitation hymn, and I felt my will shove me from behind. I walked the aisle quickly. Yes, I wanted to belong to Jesus. Yes. Right then and there. I’ve said yes a thousand times since.
I said yes again today. While a silver doggy walked ahead of me and I saw her shadow on the green grass, I said, I will follow You. While the wheels of the grocery-getter minivan rolled me closer to home-again-home-again after I dropped my oldest daughter off to meet her sister so they could conquer another piece of the world. While the moon rose all orange and not quite full, and I felt an actual and sudden dizziness with the spin of the earth. I said yes.
The earth has whirled in hundreds of circles and made its way around the sun multiple times since the pastor pushed me under the water and lifted me back up again. After years of trying to be good and belong, a greater grace lovingly shattered my self-made righteousness and my hand-crafted Jesus. That Sunday speed walk down the aisle, the baptism in the waters, a yes to a doctrine, a hope. Incomplete as all of it was–the doctrine, the hope, Jesus Himself–I believe I did give my whole self to the real Jesus. It took quite a few of those trips around and around to arrive somewhere near the power of Christ in me.
If it is so, then I am more true because of His love. I am really myself because of His life and breath coursing through my very being. I am becoming something less and less false, more and more reflective of Jesus. Right? Life with Christ, His life inside me is supplanting the old and creating always new. This is a life fused with God through Christ, by the Holy Sprit? Right?
If it is not so, I don’t know who or what I ran to when my 9-year old feet carried me to the altar before verse 4. If only insurance from fire, I only am moved for a moment, only scared into bursts of trying on my own to be a good girl. If only a religious ceremony, still no deep change in my core, just a marker and a small shift here or there, from time to time.
But if Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, then He matters beyond a singular experience. If the real Jesus lives, then to let Him in is more than behaving as a child puts on manners for good company. If God put His feet on the green grass and the desert sand and the red clay, and He felt the strain of a human heart and knew the bliss of laughing children and the good pleasure of a dove landing on Him–if all of this, I want it. Please, God. I want that potency abiding in my being, transfiguring me bit by bit.
Bowing my head into my arms onto the table only hours ago, I said yes again. And I am asking that surely I will be more peculiar tomorrow, that I will be more like Jesus when I begin the day as a mom to my growing and changing kids, that I’m, please God, not the same mom that I was a year ago. Because saying yes is meant to change us all. That is the truth of the Gospel, yes?